Papers And Originals

Studies of Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolism in Women Developing Hypertension on Oral Contraceptives

Br Med J 1973; 3 doi: (Published 11 August 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;3:317
  1. Bridgett Mason,
  2. Nigel Oakley,
  3. Victor Wynn


    Metabolic studies in 100 women developing hypertension on combined oestrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives have been compared with similar studies in normotensive women on oral contraceptives, matched for age and duration of contraceptive use, and in women not taking contraceptives.

    The metabolic changes known to be induced by oral contraceptives—impaired glucose tolerance, elevated blood pyruvate levels, and raised serum lipid concentrations—were found to be exaggerated in the matched hypertensive group, largely due to pronounced abnormalities in 33 subjects with diastolic blood pressures over 110 mm Hg.

    Women developing severe hypertension were older, more obese, and of higher parity than those with mild hypertension and there was a high incidence of previous toxaemia of pregnancy in the hypertensive group.

    The results show that in women on oral contraceptives changes in blood pressure and in metabolic functions tend to be correlated with one another, and are consistent with the hypothesis that oral contraception induces a primary biochemical effect whose expression in the individual is determined by intrinsic factors including genetic constitution, age, weight, and parity.